Ted Olson

November 18, 2014 Gay and Lesbian Rights

roy black and ted olsonThis past Sunday (11/16/14), I had the privilege of introducing Ted Olson for the first lecture panel at this year’s Miami Book Fair. Ted and his wife Lady, along with two of the plaintiffs, Chris Perry and Sandy Stier, were on the panel. The subject was the intense five years of litigation leading up to the Supreme Court’s decision to rule California’s Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Ted, along with David Boies, wrote the book “Redeeming the Dream: The Case for Marriage Equality,” on their legal campaign. I highly recommend it, especially to lawyers, because it is packed full of intricate legal strategy. My favorite is how Ted crafted the complaint in such a way to interest the Justices in taking the case. This is planning for the final move!

Here is the text of my introduction:

All my heroes have been lawyers.

When I was in law school I avidly followed the legal giants

of the civil rights era as they fought in the courts for racial justice.

These were Towering figures

who were drawn to and fought for a cause regardless of the personal consequences.

While the 1960’s civil rights battles were over racial equality.

Today’s battle is over equal civil rights for gays and lesbians.

This battle is also being fought in the courts

and while one great battle has been won the fight goes on.

This afternoon we have the privilege of meeting and listening to one of the legal giants.

A man whose intellect and courage

combined to win

against all the odds

the right of marriage equality.

At first you might think he was not the man for the job

Ted Olson was the Solicitor general of the United States. The highest and most esteemed position for a lawyer. His only job arguing the government’s cases before the Supreme Court.

He has argued 61 Supreme Court cases — winning 75%

He has personally represented two presidents – Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

He won Bush v Gore and Citizens United.

He was a founding member of the Federalist Society.

Yet, he also represented the convicted spy Jonathan Pollard.

Why? Because he hated the unfairness of it.

That same obsession for fairness caused him to take on this battle.

I can assure you that at the end of Ted Olson’s career,

they will not speak of these other triumphs

But rather they will say – in awe –

That he was the man who

defeated California’s Proposition 8.

That he was the man who captained 5 years of intense litigation

That he was the man who secured the promise that

we are one nation with liberty and justice for all.